Japan Local Governments Troubled by Apparent North Korean Wooden Boats (News)
Tokyo, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)—With a record number of wooden boats apparently from North Korea having drifted to Japan this year, local governments in northeastern Japan are busy dealing with the bodies of their crews and disposing of the vessels.
The number of such vessels that have been found drifting in the Sea of Japan, which separates Japan and the Korean Peninsula, or washed up on the Japanese coast stood at 89 this year as of noon on December 15, topping the highest annual figure since comparable data became available in 2013, according to the Japan Coast Guard. Bodies found in or near the boats totaled 25, it also said.
Normally, deserted boats of unknown owners are dismantled, and unidentified bodies are cremated as those without relatives.
But some local governments keep the cremains in consideration of potential future requests for their return. The North Korean side has already lodged such a request.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]